COLLUSION MEETS: TAYA FRANCIS AND TALIA A DARLING
By Jazmin Duribe, 30 October 2022
TAYA FRANCIS (she/her)
Hi Taya! Lovely to meet you. What do you do?
Hey ASOS! I’m a knitwear designer – I have like a brand called Knit & Ting that I started back in 2019.
We’re LIVING for the name! How did you get into knitting?
I always really enjoyed textiles and experimenting with different fabrics, but I knew I didn't want to do just straight fashion. So, I did an art course after college and then headed to Middlesex University in London, specialising in knitwear in my second year.
Now, let’s talk about *that* upcycled T-shirt collection (check it out on @knitandting 👀)
After chatting with a pal about how to speed up my knitting process, I experimented by combining vintage T-shirts and knits. It's really about finding a new way to create garments that haven't been seen before. I had ten T-shirts in the first collection, and I wanted each one to be different [editor's note: the reworked adidas tees are a DREAM ☁️].
Taya in COLLUSION Y2K mid rise maxi denim skirt in mid blue, £27.99, COLLUSION Unisex logo t-shirt in bright pink, £9.99 and COLLUSION Unisex boxy knitted cardigan in red, £25.99
How do you show your heritage in your pieces?
Growing up, it sometimes felt conflicting going to a school in a predominantly white area. I felt different to my peers because I'm British, but my heritage is Jamaican. I like to explore my relationship with the UK and Jamaica in my work – I want my brand to feel like a celebration of my cultural background. I defo appreciate the cultural differences a lot more now than I did when I was younger.
What do you hope people take away from your work?
Acceptance. I hope that people can embrace my perspective and heritage no matter who they are.
TALIA A DARLING (she/her)
Talia in COLLUSION twill utility midi skirt in white, £27.99 and COLLUSION long sleeve tie front ruffle top in acid green, £18.99
Hey Talia! What do you do?
Hello there, I'm a DJ, plus-size model and content creator [editor’s note: if you’re looking for some hair/fashion/music/anything inspo, check out @taliaadarling on Insta]
How did you get into DJing and modelling?
I've always been a musical person. My mum is a singer, my dad was a DJ and my gran was in a girlband. I remember putting DJ in my bio and just sort of faking it until I made it... Modelling was a bit different, tho. I was a makeup artist for years so I knew loadsa photographers and stylists. My content then took off on Insta and during lockdown I signed to TWO agencies – I was so excited!
Why is representation so important to you?
I want people to believe they can do it just because I've done it. I wish that I saw me on telly – or someone like me – because I feel like my creative journey would've been fostered much earlier. I want young people to be able to just know that there's no one way, there's no one traditional route. Every route is different.
How does being Black reflect your work?
If you know me, you’ll know that I’m very in touch with my Black British roots and my Caribbean heritage. That’s pretty noticeable in the music I play when I’m DJing, and when I’m creating content. I always draw on my culture and experiences – I can't *not* be blackity Black.
Love it. Tell us a bit more about your personal style.
I used to always wear black and then one day I was like, ‘No more. We're not doing it.’ Now, I love to colour block. I experiment with different shades, texture, layers – I just love it all.
Who are your Black fashion icons?
Honestly, my friends! They’ve all got their own individual styles – we always compliment each other. And ofc, it’s gotta be our good sis Lizzo.